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* The effectiveness of milk thistle in liver disease has not been established, according to an evidence report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
* Small clinical trials and long clinical experience in Europe suggest that this herb may have hepato-protective effects.
History of Use, Rationale for Use
Dioscorides reported that a tea made with milk thistle would cure poisonous snakebites. Pliny the Elder advocated its use for "carrying off bile," and the famous English herbalist John Gerard (1545-1612) recommended it for expulsion of melancholy which was considered at the time to be related to liver disease.
Its contemporary use can be traced to German physician Johann Rademacher (1772-1850), author of the 1,600-page 1841 work, "The Universal and Organ Remedies," which organized a system of medicine derived from that of …